Tributes have been paid to Norman Walker, who passed away at the Royal Preston Hospital on February 19 at the age of 78.

Norman was the beloved husband of Valerie and a dearly-loved dad to his son Mark and his late daughter Wendy. He was also the loving grandad of Daniel and Abbey.

Born in Hawarden in Wales, Norman was raised in Radcliffe, but had lived in Salmesbury for the last 30 years.

After leaving school he worked in Barclay’s Bank in Bury for several years, but left after he married Valerie, in order to pursue his dream career in sales.

A born salesman, Norman worked in the advertising sales department of The Lancashire Telegraph (when it was known as The Lancashire Evening Telegraph).

He later went on to work for The Daily Mirror and Saatchi and Saatchi.

After undergoing three heart bypasses by his late thirties, Norman decided to launch his own agency.

He set up Norman Walker North West, which was based on Richmond Terrace in Blackburn.

His wife Valerie also worked for the business, and before long they had employed a team of 22 staff members.

When the newspaper ad business fell on hard times, the couple bought the newsagent Livesey News in Blackburn, housing the advertising agency upstairs, in order to avoid making anyone redundant.

Norman was a member of the charitable organisation Blackburn Lions Club for almost 40 years, serving as district governor in the early 1990s.

He worked tirelessly on various fundraising initiatives that improved and supported the local community, including supporting the opening of the children’s hospice Derian House in Chorley.

Even after he’d retired, Norman’s sense of community remained as strong as ever.

He became a volunteer driver for the North West Ambulance service, ferrying patients to and from hospital appointments for 11 years - a role he was still fulfilling until the Covid-19 pandemic hit last year.

Norman was laid to rest on March 9.